We wanted to tackle this topic today as it’s one we see regularly in our work as an agency and there are some key differences between a social media manager and a marketing manager which, if you are considering working with an agency, you need to be aware of. We often see the lines blurred – particularly in small businesses – but it is important to recognise that these roles are separate roles and should be treated accordingly.
Firstly – social media activity is a line item in your marketing plan. It’s not (or, it shouldn’t be) your whole plan. Social media managers (or content producers) are not marketing managers so your expectations of them shouldn’t be the same.
Secondly – a social media strategy is essential before you (or anyone else) starts posting on social media.
Lastly – a social media strategy should reference your overall marketing strategy to ensure that both are in lockstep and that the social media strategy is helping you to achieve your main marketing goals.
If you don’t have a marketing plan, you can still be successful on social media (as long as you have a social media strategy). But your social media manager will be executing the social media strategy without any guidance from the overall plan. So, you’ll need to manage your expectations.
Given the state of play in the digital marketing landscape, particularly for the service industry, your main focus for your social media presence is going to be brand development and brand building + exposure. The “sale” comes after the customer has contacted you, rather than within the digital environment.
Lead generation is a key role of marketing but if you are relying on organic social media posting alone then be prepared to marshal all your patience. The digital landscape is flooded with businesses all vying for attention and it can be challenging to cut through the “noise” if you are only talking to a very small proportion of the broader audience. A targeted advertising campaign is essential to broaden your reach and generate significant leads.
The main difference between a social media manager and a marketing manager is the level of responsibility and management. A marketing manager provides input and direction, with a deep level of understanding of your business and your business goals. They can help craft the marketing element of your business plan and assist with clarifying your ideas as a business owner within a marketing context.
A social media manager, literally manages your social media. They can create a social media strategy that is led by what you’ve set as your goals and your input as the business owner. A social media manager is an expert in their craft, so they understand how to utilise the different platforms and play to the strengths of each, to ensure that the social media strategy is implemented correctly and effectively. It’s not the job of a social media manager to “sell” for you, nor do they generally have any control over the outcome of the sale.
As the business owner, you can outsource the role of marketing manager to a third party or agency in the same way you can outsource the role of social media manager but their output will be completely different because their roles are not one and the same. Most external marketing managers provide services on a monthly retainer and your marketing manager can (and should) work closely with your social media manager in executing both the marketing plan and the social media strategy.
In terms of business, there is a hierarchy of plans that you – as the business owner – should have developed. At the top is your business plan. Sitting under that is your marketing plan. And a subset of your marketing plan is your social media strategy.
In the next blog, we’ll take a look at what makes each of these plans and strategies essential for business as well as what type of content you need to include.
In the meantime, if you need help with your social media management, reach out and book a call with us. We’d love to chat.